The research has found that patients, who participated in yoga exercises that incorporated controlled breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques into their treatment plan, experienced improved ability to engage in their daily activities, better general health and better regulation of stress hormone cortisol.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, revealed that Women in the yoga group were also better equipped to find meaning in the illness experience and it can benefit cancer patients by comparing their experience with patients in an active control group who integrated simple, generic stretching exercises into their lives.
According to the study, women who practiced yoga had the steepest decline in their cortisol levels across the day, which have been earlier linked to worse outcomes in breast cancer.
Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., professor and director of the Integrative Medicine Program said that combining mind and body practices clearly have tremendous potential to help patients manage the psychosocial and physical difficulties associated with treatment and life after cancer, beyond the benefits of simple stretching.
The study has been published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.